Bethesda E3 2019 Showcase Recap - Mobile Games And Doom Eternal

Plus surprises from Tango Gameworks and Arkane Lyon.
Bethesda's E3 presentation will air on June 9, 8:30PM ET.
Bethesda's E3 presentation will air on June 9, 8:30PM ET. Bethesda

Following up on Microsoft and Xbox’s big opener for E3 2019, Bethesda’s E3 Showcase kicks off, and it’s pretty underwhelming, to say the least.

While it did have good surprises, it was mostly a miss due to the fact that the company’s focus shifted a lot towards mobile games and expansions for their existing titles. There’s no word on two of their upcoming projects, Starfield and The Elder Scrolls VI, both of which are pretty hotly anticipated. There was also a lot of filler which, while somewhat inspired, just ended up dragging the show even further. The true kicker, however, was that one guy who kept shouting over every single announcement, even for something as mundane as presenters or an added Battle Royale mode for Fallout 76. Seriously, just stop.

In any case, let’s take a closer look at everything Bethesda did announce for their E3 Showcase, which I’m thinking is going to be remembered for years to come, and not for the reasons Bethesda wants either.

Introduction video, plus some words from Bethesda SVP of Global Marketing Pete Hines, and studio head Todd Howard

Expect a lot more of these fillers for Bethesda’s presentation, seeing as the developer/publisher found themselves showing these in just about every gap between major announcements, time which could have been served better by filling it instead with mobile titles. The short video features developers within Bethesda praising the game’s community, interspersed between montages of their various events.

Although the thought is quite nice, coming from a sense of community within Bethesda and their games, it feels very forced and more of a contingency measure for their recent downhill trend when it comes to titles.

Afterwards, we got some words from Pete Hines formally welcoming everyone to the event, followed by an introduction for the face of Bethesda Game Studios, studio head Todd Howard. Howard himself spent just a little time onstage, mostly thanking the community for their feedback which helped their games become better over time. Mostly, I think he was just talking about Fallout 76. It is kind of nice that he did address their faults and mistakes, and just reiterated their stance on doing better.

Then again, if Howard was a character in Fallout, he would have more than 100 Charisma, so he could pretty much almost always sales-talk his way out of controversies through sheer charm alone.

The Elder Scrolls: Blades update, plus a trailer for the game’s release on the Nintendo Switch

The Elder Scrolls: Blades developers Craig Lafferty and Matt Carofano took the stage to announce some brand-new updates for the game, including an Arena mode for players looking to play PvP.

One of the big surprises for the game was the revelation that The Elder Scrolls: Blades will be making its way to the Nintendo Switch. I don’t know what Bethesda was trying to achieve with this, to be quite honest, as your mobile phones are already quite portable. Then again, perhaps it’s the different controller scheme. A short teaser accompanied the announcement, which showed The Elder Scrolls: Blades being played on a Switch, featuring motion controls with the Joy-con to slash with your sword or block with your shield. The only other upside is the ability to play it on a TV, using the dock for the Switch.

The Elder Scrolls: Blades will be released for the Nintendo Switch sometime in fall 2019. Like the mobile version, it will be made available for free, but with in-game purchases, of course. Check out the trailer below.

The Switch version also allows for cross-play and cross-progression with mobile versions, so if you enjoy playing it, you can play with other people across both platforms.

Fallout 76 updates, featuring new game modes and a free week incoming to test said game modes out

Afterwards, Bethesda Game Studios co-director Tom Mustaine and Fallout 76 project leader Jeff Gardiner walked on the stage to announce incoming updates for Fallout 76.

They first presented what they are billing as the game’s biggest update yet, called Wastelanders. Check out the trailer to see what’s new and “scream-worthy” for Fallout 76.

The return of human NPCs! Cue the inevitable screams of excitement, mostly coming from the massive hype guy. Following an over-commitment into ridding the series of one of the best things about it, Bethesda now brings its NPCs back, complete with quest lines, allegiances, dialog trees and various other morality choices that will ultimately shape the wasteland. Kind of makes one wonder how different Fallout 76 would’ve been received if it had them at launch, like what most of the playerbase actually wanted. The Wastelanders update is coming this fall, and will be available for free for all owners of Fallout 76.

Then came the announcement of a free trial week for new players to test out just how different Fallout 76 is now. The game will be going free-to-play from June 10 to June 17, so if you’ve got some time on your hands and are open to trying out the game, you can now do so.

With the release of this free week comes a sneak peek at an all-new game mode, one which all players will be free to test out. Check out the trailer for Nuclear Winter below.

It’s a battle royale mode. For Fallout 76. Nuclear Winter’s premise is a hunt for a new overseer, one which can only be solved by having all 52 potential candidates fight to the death in a space that’s slowly being closed in by a ring of nuclear fire. Add some Fallout flavor including mutated monsters, power armor, base building and block-leveling nukes and you have yourself Nuclear Winter.

The premise itself is quite cool, and for a minute I thought it would be more of a competitive mode in which players would compete in various activities to earn points to find out who would be overseer for a time, whereupon he or she can enact some rules of his or her own. Now that I think about it, my idea is totally better and on the off-chance that Bethesda is reading this, hire me.

Kidding aside, while I’m not averse to the premise, the battle royale mode sounds like an afterthought for when you just want to throw everything and see if it sticks. Only time will tell if the player base will enjoy this one or if it’s going to be a hard pass. At the very least, the massive hype guy seems all for it.

Tango Gameworks takes the stage for a new title announcement, spearheaded by studio lead Shinji Mikami

Here we finally get to see some good new content. Legendary Japanese video game director Shinji Mikami, best known for his work with Capcom on Resident Evil and Devil May Cry, went on stage to announce a brand-new game.

I was expecting maybe a third iteration of The Evil Within, which is somewhat successful, but I’ll take a new IP over it every day. The game is called Ghostwire Tokyo¸ and to help present it, Mikami also brought the game’s bubbly creative director Ikumi Nakamura.

The game, according to Mikami, is an "action-adventure game in which you'll fight enemies in a city of supernatural evil." Nakamura expands on this, saying that Ghostwire Tokyo is a "new kind of action adventure game... it's spooky! But not the kind of survival horror we're known for.”

In any case, check out its official teaser trailer below to get a good look at this upcoming title.

The premise itself is quite unsettling, featuring a huge number of people in Tokyo disappearing into thin air. What follows is some hauntingly beautiful, but also incredibly unsettling imagery, which suggests that it will take some inspiration from the mind-bending The Evil Within. All in all, it looks promising, and if previous titles from Tango Gameworks are of any note, then Ghostwire Tokyo is definitely something to look out for.

Intermission video

The Elder Scrolls Online: Elsweyr updates, including a very cinematic trailer

Next up, Zenimax Online Studios director Matt Firor took the stage, this time to discuss the recent Elsweyr update for The Elder Scrolls Online. Check out more about the Elsweyr update here, which I covered previously.

Zenimax Online Studios also debuted this cool-looking cinematic trailer for the Elsweyr expansion, which also featured the Necromancer class in action. Check it out below.

Afterwards, Zenimax Online Studios revealed two new add-ons to come within the expansion, Scalebreaker and Dragonhold. More information will be revealed about the two content expansions at QuakeCon, which will be held this August.

Commander Keen mobile game reveal

Next up is another project from Zenimax Online Studios, presented by its creative director, Kira Schlitt. The game is a – surprise, surprise – mobile title. Commander Keen makes his return to video games, although in a free-to-play, freemium-modeled, microtransaction-ridden form for mobile phones. Check out the reveal trailer below.

I like the irony during her rundown of Commander Keen, stating that the game was a popular PC action game by id Software, only to see it now revived as a mobile title, and a freemium one at that. Seriously, why not just make a new title for the PC if you want to revive the series so much? It’s sure to find an actual, appreciative audience there.

In any case, they showed off some gameplay footage, and it looks like it’s going to be a bit different from the original platforming introduced by the original series.

The Elder Scrolls: Legends trailer, plus some more information on the game

Pete Hines then walked on stage once again to show off a new trailer for The Elder Scrolls: Legends, which is something you’d expect for a mobile title. Check it out below with its wacky over-the-top tone, along with a reveal at the end.

The game’s next expansion, called Moons of Elsweyr, will be made available on June 27 across all platforms.

Rage 2 E3 trailer

Pete Hines also presented the newest Rage 2 E3 trailer, which highlights some of the upcoming content for the game. It’s also very creative in its presentation, utilizing 90s VHS aesthetics to bring across its content. Check it out below.

The trailer introduces the Sand Worm, a new enemy type, as well as various cheat codes which you can acquire from The Wasteland Wizard. The cheat codes include Bloody Mess (turns everyone you shoot into a pulp), Low Gravity, and Rejector Seat (throws your vehicle away instead of you).

The trailer also teased new vehicles, such as pilotable mechs, the Skull Motorcycle, and the Armadillo. We also get a sneak peek at the next story-based expansion called Rise of the Ghosts, which gave off a tone considerably darker than the main Rage 2.

Wolfenstein, as presented by MachineGames executive producer Jerk Gustafsson

The next set of presentations were for Wolfenstein Cyberpilot and Wolfenstein Youngblood, as presented by developer MachineGames’ executive producer Jerk Gustafsson. Unlike other entries in the revamped Wolfenstein series, which were set in Nazi-controlled America, these two new games are set in Europe, deep within Nazi territory in an alternate timeline.

First off, Gustafsson announced Wolfenstein Cyberpilot, the first game in the series to be played with virtual reality. There’s no new footage that debuted for this one, but there were some reiterations that for this title, you will be playing as a hacker who takes control of various mechs and other Nazi-engineered bots in order to destroy their creators. Wolfenstein Cyberpilot will be available this July, and is playable at Bethesda’s booth for the duration of E3.

We then get to the main line sequel, Wolfenstein Youngblood, which is set for release this summer. For the first time in the series, Youngblood will introduce cooperative play, in which you either play as Jessica or Sophia Blazkowicz, the twin daughters of B.J. Blazkowicz. You can also play in single-player as well, with an AI companion taking control of the other character. Gustafsson then shows another trailer for the game, which you can watch below.

This trailer really got me going, owing to the fact that it used a Carpenter Brut track. The release date for the game has also been announced, and will be made available across all platforms on July 26, 2019. A Google Stadia version is also in the works, but the service itself will not launch until November of this year.

Surprise game announcement from Arkane Lyon, as presented by game director Dinga Bakaba and art director Sebastien Mitton

The second of the surprise game announcements, and one that really interested me, is this next presentation from Arkane Lyon. The French developer is best known for their work on the Dishonored franchise, although recently they’ve also lent a helping hand in developing Wolfenstein Youngblood. It probably explains why the movement and combat for that game is much more fluid and free-flowing than in other Wolfenstein titles.

The game is called Deathloop, and it’s another first-player action game. It’s set in the frozen island of Blackreef. It’s a place of mystery, and the game takes place un moment de folie, which is French for a “a time of madness.” Check out the trailer below to see its premise.

Deathloop is another game with a time loop mechanic. We’ve been seeing plenty of those recently. Anyway, Deathloop lets you play as one of two super-assassins, Colt or Julianna, on an endless mission to keep killing the other. Judging by the trailer, both have not only access to a wide array of weaponry, but also powerful abilities, much like in Dishonored. It also has the Arkane signature, which is allowing players to approach any situation in any way they like. The setting is very interesting as well, with various people also inhabiting the island who will get in your way to reach your goal.

As a pretty big fan of the first Dishonored game it’s refreshing to see Arkane take on a new IP, one which may very well be their next hit. Consider me onboard for Deathloop, whenever its release date may be.

Intermission video

id Software takes the stage, announcing their Orion project

The next presentation is probably the most underrated by far, due to its possible implications for the future of game streaming. James Altman, director of publishing for Bethesda, and Robert Duffy, CTO at id Software, formally reveald Orion, a project they are billing as a “tremendous breakthrough in streaming technology.”

In a nutshell, Orion is a group of technologies that optimize game engines for performance in a cloud environment. According to Altman, Orion is compatible with any game engine, and will improve your playing experience no matter which game you’re playing, or whether you’re streaming the game on any streaming platform.

While streaming services have mostly focused on the hardware side of game streaming, as seen with Google’s utilization of its massive cloud infrastructure or Microsoft’s Azure databanks, Orion will instead focus on optimization of software on the game engine level. It’s all very interesting stuff, and it shows Bethesda’s vested interest in the growing game-streaming market.

To show off the capabilities of Orion, a hands-on demo was played on stage, with a tech specialist from id Software demonstrating Doom being streamed on a mobile phone, Orion-improved of course. It does look like it runs miles better than previous Stadia presentations, but there’s still the question of how game streaming will deal with latency – not internet speed, or bandwidth issues, but just pure latency.

In any case, it will be interesting to see if Orion picks up speed and performs on the level it’s being advertised as, which should spell great things for the future of game streaming.

Doom Eternal showcase

We finally head to the main event of the presentation, and Bethesda saved the best for last. To kick things off, we get a story trailer for Doom Eternal, which you can watch below. Check it out to see the Doom Slayer’s eyes for the first time.

Marty Stratton, executive producer, and Hugo Martin, creative director, then took the stage to show some more Doom Eternal footage. We saw some more interesting level design, making the game feel more like a platformer at times than a first-person shooter.

Then we get to another announcement, this time for a set release date for the game. Doom Eternal will launch across all platforms on November 22, which is just in time for the Stadia’s release. We get to see a first look for the Battlemode game mode for the title as well, which pits two players playing as demons against one player as the Doom Slayer. Check out the trailer below.

And that about covers Bethesda’s E3 2019 showcase. While there were more misses than hits, it did spawn two titles of interest: Deathloop and Ghostwire Tokyo. Then again, I feel like those two titles could’ve used a better place for their announcements, because most of the focus went to mobile games and updates for existing titles, while massive hype guy kept drowning out the presenters. All in all, a massive step down from the amazing start by Microsoft and Xbox.

Check back here with us for more recaps following presentations for E3 2019.

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